About FONZ

Friends of the National Zoo is the nonprofit partner of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

We help the Zoo save animals by raising funds to support the Zoo's mission, providing educational and fun experiences, and inspiring members and guests.

Every year—for more than 60 years—we have contributed millions of dollars and helped educate more than a million Zoo visitors. But we can only do it with your help.

Everyone is helping to support this mission, whether you spend a fun day at the Zoo, attend a Zoo event, help inspire your children through a FONZ camp or class, or donate to Conservation Nation. Thank you so much!

Here are a few ways that we help support the Zoo’s mission to save species:

man holding child while riding on carousel

Hungry or thirsty? Want to purchase a keepsake for your memorable visit? Need to rent a stroller? From concessions to carousel rides, our park operations team will make sure everything goes smoothly during your visit.

family looking at sloth bear through exhibit glass

Our members are conservation-minded Zoo lovers who are invaluable in helping us achieve our mission. Membership comes with its perks, too, from free parking, to food and souvenir discounts, to free rides. Higher membership levels even include exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.

children at summer camp looking through binoculars

No matter the age, there’s a fun, educational camp or class run by our award-winning education team. Bring your preschooler to Zoo Tunes, take an adult education class, or stay at the Zoo overnight during a wild Snore and Roar. If you’re a teacher, you can bring the Zoo to your classroom—or bring your class to the Zoo.

guests attending Brew at the Zoo

Foodies, beer drinkers, trick-or-treaters, Valentine’s Day couples—there’s a wildly fun Zoo event for you. Our fundraising events at the Zoo range from wine-tasting events to Halloween parties, and every ticket you buy shows your support for FONZ and the Zoo’s shared species-saving mission.

inside the Conservation Pavilion at the National Zoo

Huge company picnics and intimate wedding receptions—we hold them both at the Zoo. From small gatherings at Amazonia to huge get-togethers on Lion-Tiger Hill, every event here is unique and special.

a FONZ volunteer interacting with a group of children

Our incredible volunteer base donates more than 90,000 hours of time each year at both the Zoo and SCBI. Volunteers assist animal keepers, operate the beloved Giant Panda Cam, and talk about the Zoo’s animals with guests.

flamingos in the snow

It's easy to support the Zoo's mission—and there are many ways to make an impact. Symbolically adopt an animal to show your support for the species-saving mission of the Zoo and SCBI; purchase a bench to honor a loved one; or donate to the Zoo's animals through the Enrichment Trunk program.

Asian elephant

Conservation Nation is a Friends of the National Zoo initiative that directly funds Smithsonian conservation scientists and veterinarians' work to save threatened species in the wild. Each year, our nation of donors helps Smithsonian scientists fight to erase extinction.